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The Effects Of Industrialisation On The Structure Of The Family

1364 words - 5 pages

The Effects of Industrialisation on the Structure of the Family

The pre- industrial family was said to be an extended family
consisting of three generations, the children, parents and the
grandparents. The family would all work together in the farms to help
provide for the entire families needs, children as young a 5 or 6
would have been found work to do. However this was until the
Industrial revolution when factories become the main source of work
and development. The pre-industrial societies were largely based on
extended kinship networks; land and other resources were commonly
owned by a range of relatives that extended well beyond the unit of
the nuclear family. It was very common for families to work alongside
their cousins and even live with them. This extended family was
responsible for the production of the shelter, food and clothing for
the family. Roles in the family were usually ascribed to the offspring
rather than being achieved. These roles would hardly ever be rejected
and in return for this commitment, the extended network would perform
other functions for the members. The family gave its members the
skills and the education in which to take their place in the family
division of labour. The family functioned to maintain health for its
members, as there was no universal health care, they also provided
welfare; those in the family who would make it to old age would have
been cared for in exchange for childcare services.

Then came the industrial revolution. Parsons believed that the
industrial revolution brought about the dramatic change from the
extended family to the nuclear and three fundamental changes to

Industrialisation brought the geographically mobile workforce and no
longer was the ascription of jobs important, instead achievement
became the main and most important method once education had been
introduced. Parsons believed that the separation of extended families
caused nuclear families to be formed in order to take advantage of the
new job opportunities that had been brought about. He also argued that
the second fundamental change to the family was that they no longer
needed to produce their own materials and food as specialised agencies
gradually took over and the home and workplace became separate as
people became wage earners. The state eventually took over the
functions of education, health and welfare and so consequently the
nuclear family was able to specialise in child centred functions like
socialisation. Thirdly Parson also argued that the new nuclear unit
provided the husband and wife with very cleaver social roles. The man
was the "instrumental leader", who was responsible for the economic
welfare of the family group, and goes out and earns money, while the
female was seen as the "expressive leader", primarily responsible for

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